Italian emergency workers recovers 217 bodies of refugees from sunken ship

July 7, 2016 1:32 pm

The wreck of a fishing boat that
sank in April 2015 drowning hundreds of refugees packed on board is seen
after being raised in the Sicilian harbor of Augusta, , July 1,
2016. (Reuters photo)

Italian emergency workers
have recovered at least 217 bodies of refugees from the wreck of an
overcrowded boat that sank in the Mediterranean last year.

In
a statement on Thursday, the Navy said a team of 150 professionals from
Italian Red Cross, the Navy, fire service, and a forensic team of Milan
university professors were working around the clock to examine the
bodies.
Autopsies have been carried out on more than 50 of the victims, it added.
The
Navy noted that police scientists, in close coordination with a local
public prosecutor, have begun making reports on their findings.
This came after the vessel was hauled off the seabed and taken to a naval site in the Italian southern island of Sicily.
In
one of the most shocking incidents involving refugees, hundreds of
people were feared to have perished in April 2015, after a crammed
fishing boat capsized in Libyan waters south of the Italian island of
Lampedusa. It sank about 135 km (85 miles) north of Libya, from where it
departed.

This
file photo taken on May 24, 2016 shows refugees waiting to be rescued
during an operation at the Mediterranean sea in front of the Libyan
coast. (AFP photo) is facing an
unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones
in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
More than
227,316 asylum seekers have reached Europe via the Mediterranean so far
this year, while 2,920 people died or went missing in their perilous
journey to the continent, according to the latest figures by the
International Organization of Migration (IOM).
Many blame support
by some Western countries and their regional allies for militants
operating in the Middle East as the main reason behind the departure of
refugees from their home countries.

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